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NASA Internships Available for Blind and Disabled Students

NASA is looking to increase the number of blind and disabled students, pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through its internship programs.

There is a 2 percent hiring goal. Students can apply until February 1, 2011. They can register for an account and look for internships anytime at the NASA internships website. Internships run for ten weeks from May 31 through August 5, 2011.

In order to be eligible to apply, students must be accepted as freshmen at an accredited institution of higher learning, i.e., a college or university at the time of the internship (a “rising freshman”). NASA has internships for rising freshmen through doctoral students in STEM fields. A minimum GPA of 2.8 is required to apply; however, applicants must understand that the competition for internships is keen. The age limits for interns are eighteen years and up.

Internships are available at all NASA centers nationwide. Students can submit applications where they either select or do not select an opportunity or opportunities. Selecting an opportunity or opportunities has the advantage of allowing applicants to be considered by mentors who work in disciplines of interest and at a particular center. For example, an opportunity having to do with the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be at Goddard in Maryland because SDO is there. Not selecting any opportunities may result in no mentors even looking at their applications because they will not have flagged their applications to mentors’ opportunities.

It’s important to make clear that applications can be viewed by all mentors whether students select opportunities or not. However, not selecting any opportunities means that prospective interns will be hoping that a mentor happens to read their applications rather than directing their applications to mentors in fields and at centers of interest.

Also, organizations and schools can nominate qualified students with a letter of recommendation. The students still have to go through the regular application process, but the letter will be very helpful. The letter would be submitted with the online application. Copies of these nomination letters should be e-mailed to kenneth.a.silberman@nasa.gov in addition to submitting with the application.

Students who are selected for internships will receive an offer letter by e-mail sometime after February 2, 2011. They will then have five days to either accept or reject the offer on the NASA internship website. The offer will automatically expire after five days if no action is taken.

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